What Happens At a Bar Mitzvah Party?
Jewish boys celebrate bar mitzvahs as a rite of passage. It is a solemn occasion that introduces young boys into the faith with the blessings of the elderly and respected members of the community. However, it is also an occasion of merriment and dancing, a time to celebrate with the family as they rejoice in this milestone. There is often a sequence of events during this occasion which starts with introducing the family celebrator to the guests. Here’s what guests can expect during celebrations like these.
The family comes in front as they are introduced by the disc jockey or the master of ceremonies, followed by the celebrator or celebrators.
This is when boy celebrator calls up his family so they can each go up and light a candle to be placed on his cake. He may give a short introduction of the person being asked to come through a short speech or a poem. The first candle is lit to remember family members who have died.
The reading of scripture usually happens in the synagogue before the party, so guests often immediately sit down to eat. However, prior to the meal, the oldest person in the family recites the Ha-motzi, a traditional prayer and blessing.This is done over challah, a special type of bread by the oldest person in the family, usually the grandfather and is done to honor God and his blessings on the boy and his family. After the blessing the bread is sliced and shared by the celebrator’s closest relatives.
The child-parent dance is when the boy dances a special dance with his mom to a special kind of music. When the celebrator is a girl, she dances with her father. This is a tender moment for the parent and child and one of the main events in any bar mitzvah.
This is the main event, the time when everyone can get up and start dancing. This is traditionally called the Hora, where it is expected to raise the celebrator high up on a chair as the guests surround him and his family in a circle as the guests dance around them. The Hora is a joyous and fast-paced dance and is easily a notable characteristic of bar mitzvahs and other Jewish celebrations.
The toast can be done before or after the Hora and is done by the parents to honor their child. They can also use this time to thank the guests for coming and joining them in the celebration.
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